Get Back in Action: Great Natural Ways to Cure Heel Pain and Arch Pain Without Surgery
Posted by Jenn F. on Monday, January 13th, 2014
Recently, “Victor K,” a 71-year-old runner, wrote in to the Running Doc column at the NY Daily News, wondering how to deal with “excruciating pain” in the left arch by the heel without heel spur surgery. The columnist’s advice very much follows the sort of advice we’d give: you do NOT need surgery!
“There are many non-surgical treatments for arch pain,” says The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine’s Dr. Nadia Levy. “Orthotics/inserts, stretching, therapy, padding, Extracorporal Pulse Activation Therapy, and even injections (with or without steroids) are all interventions we’d recommend first. Many times surgery is not required, but when all else fails, it sometimes is.”
For Arch Pain:
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the connective tissue along the arch of the foot. It’s a common condition caused by tight arches, flat feet, over-pronation, or tight calf muscles. The key to treating this painful foot injury is full-length flexible orthotics with good arch support. These aren’t the $20 one-size-fits-all Dr. Scholls you find in drug stores. You’ll need to visit a podiatrist for the real deal, but most people notice a resolution of foot pain within weeks, if not immediately.
Stretches and strengthening of the calf muscles is also an essential part of preventing the foot from overcompensating and bearing the brunt of the force from each step. The Pro-Stretch system makes it easy for people to build more power in their calf muscles at home without a personal trainer. Also, rolling a golf or tennis ball under the arch for a half hour each day as you watch TV works wonders at alleviating pain.
There will always be stubborn patients who don’t like to follow directions — in which case, NSAID gels, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone injections may provide some acute relief.
For Heel Pain:
Heel spurs — elongated calcium deposits on the underside of the heel bone — are sometimes a cause of heel pain. Rarely do these spurs (that everyone has to some degree) necessitate surgery. Again, the key to treatment of heel pain relies on shoes that provide adequate arch support and heel cushioning. Something as simple as adding a doughnut-shaped heel cushion or a heel elevator pad to your shoe can really help.
If you’d rather not take an ibuprofen, you can try a natural supplement like ginger or turmeric — 400 to 600 mg, taken three times daily. Some people swear by acupuncture or chiropractic manipulation as natural ways to heal foot pain, as well.
EPAT: A New Procedure For Heel & Arch Pain
Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, we offer some of the latest breakthroughs used to treat foot pain. One of these treatments is Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Therapy (EPAT), which we’ve had in the office for over three years. We really stand behind this non-invasive, FDA-cleared treatment for heel and arch pain because it’s quick, effective, and painless.
Some people say it feels like a “gentle tapping.” During a typical session, pressurized waves are passed through the foot, stimulating the metabolism, circulation, and the body’s natural healing processes. All it takes is three weekly 30-minute treatments to notice improvement in stubborn cases of foot pain, but 80% of our patients have reported zero pain with just one treatment. Best of all, there is no downtime and you can get back to running or the active lifestyle you love in no time at all.
The only downside is that insurance does not cover this new treatment, so it may end up costing around $150 to $200 per treatment out of pocket, plus co-pays. If you live in the NY area and are interested in this advanced treatment, we’d be happy to discuss financing options.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.